Document Type



Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence

Publication Details

“Investigating the role of shape on the biological impact of gold nanoparticles in vitro”, Furong Tian, Martin J.D. Clift, Alan Casey, Pablo del Pino, Beatriz Pelaz, João Conde, Hugh J. Byrne, Barbara Rothen-Rutishauser, Giovani Estrada, Jesús M de la Fuente and Tobias Stoeger, Nanomedicine, 10, 2643-2657 (2015)


Aim: To investigate the influence of gold nanoparticle (GNP) geometry on the biochemical response of Calu-3 epithelial cells.

Materials and Methods: Spherical, triangular and hexagonal GNPs were used. The GNP-cell interaction was assessed via atomic absorption spectroscopy (AAS) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). The biochemical impact of GNPs was determined over 72hrs at [0.0001-1mg/mL].

Results: At 1mg/mL, hexagonal GNPs reduced Calu-3 viability below 60%, showed increased reactive oxygen species production and higher expression of pro-apoptotic markers. A cell mass burden of 1:2:12 as well as number of GNPs per cell (2:1:3) was observed for spherical:triangular:hexagonal GNPs.


These findings do not suggest a direct shape-toxicity effect. However, do highlight the contribution of shape towards the GNP-cell interaction which impacts upon their intracellular number, mass and volume dose.